Author Archives: Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans

About Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans

Created in 1985, the Council advocates and advises on issues pertaining to Asian Pacific Minnesotans.

2013 Asian Pacific Youth Leadership Retreat

Asian Pacific Youth Leadership Retreat 2013

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What is the Asian Pacific Youth Leadership Retreat?

The retreat provides training to potential youth leaders through a balance of programs and hands on opportunities. We believe in leadership through action. This retreat is designed for you to learn and explore who you are as a leader. What motivates you to lead; what leadership styles best suits you and the community in which you lead; and Why do you lead?

Who: Youth ages 14 to 18 years old

When: Friday, June 28, 2013 to Tuesday, July, 2 2013
Drop-off at the Capitol Lower Mall on Friday, June 28 at 8:00am
Pick-up at the Capitol Lower Mall on Tuesday, July, 2 at 9:00pm

Where: Vermillion Community College
1900 East Camp Street
Ely, MN 55731
**A charter bus will transport us to and from the camp.

Sign up now:
(application checklist)
____Complete Asian Pacific Youth Leadership Retreat 2013 application form (signed)
____Participant questionnaire
____Reference form
____Health Records

Application sent to:
Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans
Attention: Sandy Kwan
658 Cedar Street, Suite 160
St. Paul, MN 55155

Application deadline for participants extended to June 14, 2013

For more information: Contact Sandy Kwan at or call 651-757-1743

The Asian Pacific Youth Leadership Council (APYC) is a leadership initiative of the Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans, a state agency created by the legislature to advise them and the governor on issues of importance to Asian Pacific Minnesotans. The initiative addresses the lack of Asian Pacific youth voice in civic engagement by leveraging cultural and historical experiences. At the same time, the youth council addresses the fact that the Asian Pacific community is on average 10 years younger than the general population and investment in this group is instrumental to Minnesota’s future.

#APYLR2013 is a collaborative effort of: Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, Vermillion Community College and the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans.

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Posted by on May 13, 2013 in Uncategorized


Asian Pacific Youth Council’s The Expo: Open Mic Recap

On April 27th, 2013, the Asian Pacific Youth Council (APYC) hosted their very first Open Mic, which was held at the People’s Center Theater in Minneapolis and welcomed a little over 50 attendees. The night was led by guest emcees Tou Saiko Lee, spoken word, hip hop, and community artist/activist, and Justen Gowing, an APYC mentor. The community and youth council were also introduced to Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans’ (CAPM) newest executive director, Sia Her. Further, attendees and performers enjoyed light refreshments from Kowloon Restaurant as they were entertained for the night.

On stage were diversely talented individuals/groups found in and around the twin cities community, with an opening skit and dance from the Asian Pacific Youth Council. Immediately following, with no hesitation, young and aspiring artists performed, one after another. The emcees delightfully interacted with the audience between each performance, which allowed for smooth transition and anticipation of the next performer(s).

Closing the event was brief social time, where all attendees and performers were able to connect and reflect on a successful Open Mic night.

Performers and attendees are all smiles after a fun night.

Performers and attendees are all smiles after a fun night.

Written by: Thayeng Her

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Posted by on May 6, 2013 in APYC News, CAPM Events, Community Event


The Community celebrates May as Asian American and Pacific Islanders’ Heritage Month with Dinner and Leadership Awards


For Immediate Release                                                                                               Contact: Sia Her

April 26, 2013                                                                                                            (651) 757-1740


The Community celebrates May as Asian American and Pacific Islanders’
Heritage Month with Dinner and Leadership Awards

ST. PAUL, MN – The Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans is pleased to once again host, with the support of community, business, and government partners, the annual Asian American and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month Dinner. In 1993, to honor the achievements and contributions of Asian/Pacific Americans, Congress, by Public Law 102-450, designated the month of May each year as “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.” The Heritage Month Dinner has since become a tradition for the Asian Pacific Minnesotan community – each year, it brings together hundreds of community members and leaders from the API community and the non-profit, faith, government, and business communities.

Dinner will be held on Friday, May 3, 2013 at the Ramada Plaza Minneapolis, 1330 Industrial Boulevard, Minneapolis, from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm. The dinner will feature keynote speaker, Colet Lahoz, a pioneer in the practice of holistic medicine in the United States and the founder of the East West Acupuncture Clinic. To honor the achievements of leaders in the API community, the 2013 Asian Pacific Leadership Awards will be presented.

Leadership Awards are given to honor, recognize, and celebrate the work of individuals and organizations that have demonstrated continuous commitment to and leadership in the Asian Pacific Minnesotan community. The Council is pleased to announce this year’s recipients:

David Zander, Recipient of the Lifetime service award
Dr. Bernard Quebral, MD, Recipient of the Outstanding Community Leadership Service Award
Zafar Siddiqui, Recipient of the Humanitarian award

The dinner is supported by the financial contributions of businesses and community based non-profits and organizations. Lead sponsors are Blue Cross Blue Shields of Minnesota, Minnesota Department of Transportation, Minnesotan National Guard, ECOLAB, Minnesota Korean Service Center, Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota, Japanese American Citizens League, Think Small, Samoan Organization of Minnesota, and Minnesota Historical Society.

Dinner tickets are $40.00 each. Please RSVP with Pa Yang at the Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans at 651-757-1740 or email to confirm your presence


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Posted by on May 3, 2013 in Uncategorized


Press Release: Minnesota Humanities Center and the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans Announce Selected Authors and Illustrators for 2013 Reading Together Project


For Immediate Release


Christi Shortridge                              Casey DeMarais                               Kham Vang
Communications Director                   Director of Programs                         Program Assistant
Minnesota Humanities Center             Minnesota Humanities Center            Minnesota Humanities Center
651-772-4251 /     651-772-4278 /    651-772-4245 /

Minnesota Humanities Center and the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans Announce Selected Authors and Illustrators for 2013 Reading Together Project

April 15, 2013: St. Paul, MN: The Minnesota Humanities Center and the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans (CAPM) are pleased to announce the selection of writers and illustrators for the 2013 Reading Together Project. These authors and illustrators will collaborate to create four culturally relevant children’s picture books, geared toward readers from three- to seven-years old, as part of the 2013 Reading Together Project. The books will be printed and distributed to educators, teachers, students, parents, and community members in the fall of 2013. This is the second year of the Reading Together Project collaboration between the Humanities Center and the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans.

The Reading Together Project addresses the lack of children’s picture books that speak to the experience of being an Asian Pacific Islander (API) child in the United States. The project supports development of English literacy skills while recognizing cultural heritage and creating opportunities for children and families to learn together about API cultural heritage.

“CAPM is thrilled to continue its partnership with the Minnesota Humanities Center on the Reading Together Project,” said Sia Her, Executive Director of the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans. “In alignment with CAPM’s state-enabled role as the advocate for the API community in Minnesota, the Reading Together Project addresses the dearth of children’s books that reflect the API experience in the United States.” David O’Fallon, CEO and President of the Minnesota Humanities Center, notes, “This collaboration produces something neither organization is able to create alone—unique resources which share culturally relevant stories to inspire and engage Minnesota’s children.”

A selection committee comprised of community members and project staff carefully considered all submissions. Selected writers and illustrators will each receive a $1,000 stipend upon completion of the project.

The following are short biographies of the uniquely talented authors and illustrators selected for this project:

Chay Douangphouxay is an award winning Lao-Khmer American artist/activist from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Ms. Douangphouxay uses her art to educate and inspire others to advocate for their communities. Her first solo chapbook, Remission: Finding Light In the Midst of Social Darkness was released as part of the 2012 Legacy Fellowship Grant and has been widely utilized as a national educational tool on issues of class, gender, and race. Chay is the Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Twin Cities Chapter of NAPAWF, a national organization working to forge a grassroots progressive movement to advance social justice and human rights for Asian-Pacific Islander (API) women and girls.

Diane Tran manages electoral and advocacy projects at Grassroots Solutions, a national consulting firm specializing in grassroots strategy, organizing, training, and evaluation. Ms. Tran serves on the boards of directors for the Citizens League, the Minnesota Public Health Association, and the Leaders of Today and Tomorrow Program of the League of Women Voters Minnesota. Diane earned academic honors while completing a self-designed bachelor’s degree in International Social Policy with a double major in Humanities at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth. Ms. Tran leads a network of emerging leaders in Minnesota committed to building relationships, trust, and a shared vision for the state, and blogs about active citizenship and the Millennial generation at

Mai Kou Xiong came to the United States when she was eight years old and settled in Santa Barbara, California. Mai has been an educator for 17 years, teaching math and coordinating Hmong literacy and culture programs and currently works as the Hmong reading intervention specialist for the Hmong Dual Immersion Program at Jackson Preparatory Magnet School. Ms. Xion co-hosts a Hmong talk show called “Xav Paub Xav Pom” with 3Hmoob TV and reports on critical issues and events that affect the Hmong community. Mai is one of the authors for the children’s book Jouanah: A Hmong Cinderella with Dr. Jewell Reinhart Coburn, and the team is in the process of publishing their next book titled The Enchanted Necklace.

Steve Wright
When Steve was younger, his heroes were athletes who could hit the ball the farthest, throw the hardest, or run the fastest. As Steve grew older, he came to realize that the true heroes are our storytellers. The true power of a story lies in its ability to meet the reader where they are at and to transport and transform the reader simultaneously. As a 5th grade teacher, Steve’s best days in the classroom are when storytellers come and cast their spell on his students in ways that no others can reach them. Steve bats right and throws right.

Alex Kuno is a professional artist and illustrator living and working in Lowertown, St. Paul. The Miscreants of Tiny Town, his ongoing painting series of improvised, darkly satirical fairy tales and morality plays, has been featured in numerous solo and group shows in museums and major galleries throughout the Twin Cities and around the country. Kuno’s work is currently represented by Curly Tale Fine Art in Chicago, and he can be seen on tpt’s MNOriginal.

Alex Patrick Shimkus was born in Seoul, Korea and raised in Bloomington, Minnesota and is a children’s book illustrator and a cartoonist. Alex has previously published an educational book titled, Teaching Tips for Kids with Asperger’s. Mr. Shimkus studied fine art at Normandale Community College and earned his B.F.A in illustration at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. When Alex is not working, he is playing in his studio with all sorts of doodles, drawings, doo-dads, and trinkets.

Ilhwa Gloria Kim is a student artist pursuing a degree in art and psychology at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, with an emphasis on animation. Ms. Kim is mostly self-taught, and digital painting is her favorite type of illustration. Inspired by children, she often volunteers at different events as a face painter or art project instructor.

Vang Lee graduated from Fresno State University. Mr. Lee facilitates Hmong men groups for a domestic abuse program in St. Paul, Minnesota. Vang enjoys camping, hiking, and drawing, and he lives with his wife in Woodbury.


Organizational Overviews

The Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans (Council or CAPM) is a statewide government agency created by the legislature in 1985 to advise the governor and state legislature on issues confronting Asian and Pacific Islander (API) people in this state, including problems unique to non-English speaking immigrants and refugees; ensure that API are incorporated and engaged in governmental and policy-making processes; publicize the accomplishments of API, as well as their contributions and value to this state; and serve as a bridge between the API community in Minnesota and mainstream society and institutions.  More information at

Focused on the future of our state, The Minnesota Humanities Center brings the unique resources of the humanities to the challenges and opportunities of our times. We work in partnerships across the state to build thoughtful, literate, engaged citizens.  Through the humanities, this Center builds community and brings into public life the untold stories that deepen our connections to each other. More information at

Legacy Amendment Funding

This collaborative book project is funded with money from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund that was created with the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008. During the 2011 Legislative session, the Minnesota State Legislature asked the Minnesota Humanities Center to award competitive grants to the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans, the Council on Black Minnesotans, the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, and the Chicano Latino Affairs Council. Competitive grants are for programs and cooperation between the Minnesota Humanities Center and the grant recipients for community events and programs that celebrate and preserve artistic, historical, and cultural heritage (Special Session 1: Senate File Chapter 6, Article 4, Section 2, Subdivision 8).

The Legacy Amendment is a constitutional amendment adopted by Minnesota voters in November 2008. It raised the state sales tax by 3/8 of 1% for a period of 25 years and dedicated the earned revenue to clean water, parks, outdoor habitat, and arts and cultural heritage, as established in the Minnesota Constitution, article XI, section 15.

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Posted by on April 25, 2013 in Uncategorized


CAPM Board Highlights

We are excited to introduce our CAPM board members for 2013. Today we have Shanti Shah.


Who are you?

My name is Shanti Shah, I grew up in India. I have been in Minnesota since 1974. My husband Stefan and I have been married for 30 years, we have one son. I have degrees from University of Minnesota and St. Thomas. I have been working in the Information technology field for over 35 years. I have been involved in the Twin Cities Indian American community for as long as I have lived in Minnesota. I was adjunct faculty at Metro State University for 20 years and I am currently an adjunct faculty at the University of Minnesota.

Tell us about your community. What some of your current involvements in the community?

In Minnesota, the Indian American community has evolved significantly over the last 45 years. Its size has increased steadily. It is as diverse as India itself. We have Indian Americans from nearly every state with its distinctive language, food, clothing, dance, music and art. We are Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Muslims, Sikhs, Zoroastrians and Christians, just to mention a few religions we follow. This highly educated group of immigrants is represented in every professional section and not to mention business ownership. It is a vibrant community with many active organizations supporting India’s regional, religious, and cultural diversity.

I have been active in my community for a long time. I was one of the founders of School of India for Languages and Culture (SILC) which continues to provide an opportunity for children of Indian descent to learn about their heritage and engage with their community. I have been very involved with the India Association of Minnesota (IAM) which is an Indian umbrella organization that sponsors major programs and events such as India Day on the State Capital grounds. I am a past present of Jain Center of Minnesota and board member on number of organizations representing the Indian American community to the community at large including Ragamala Music and Dance Theater. Until last year, I was a Chair of IAM Trustee Advisory board. I am currently involved in future strategies for IAM and representing Indian Americans in the political process. For the 2012 election, I served as a Presidential Elector and I am involved in my Senate and Congressional District as a representative for my community.

What do you hope to accomplish on CAPM’s board?

I want to support CAPM’s strategies and goals as it continues to represent an increasingly diverse pan-Asian community. I hope to accomplish two things: to help CAPM to increase its influence on state budget and program priorities in support of pan-Asian communities and increase the visibility of this community through CAPM in addressing issues unique to these groups such as education, health care and women’s issues.

Is there a person in your life that has been the most influential? Why?

My family has been most influential in my life. They taught me that I am only whole when my community is also whole. I learned to give back to my community at an early age. It meant welcoming anyone in our home, leading efforts to feed the poor, to help the earthquake victims, help build organizations and institutions such a community temple, and working to elect political candidates who would represent people who never had been represented before in India’s young democracy.


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Posted by on April 22, 2013 in CAPM news, Community news, Uncategorized


CAPM Board Highlights

We are excited to introduce our CAPM board members for 2013. Today we have Hedy Tripp, Community Relations Committee Board Member.
Who are you?

My name is Hedy Tripp, but my name tells very little about who I am.  “Hedy” is the diminutive of my legal name “Hedwidge” from the catholic saint whose feast day was on the day I was born into a catholic, Eurasian family in Singapore.   Being Eurasian, I am the result of at least seven generations of colonialism in Southeast Asia and the names of my Asian foremothers have been completely lost.  I only know that my grandfather, Charles McGuire, was Chinese, adopted as a baby by the McGuire family to carry on their family name.

I continue to have a multicultural, multiracial family here in St. Cloud, Minnesota.  My husband, Dr. Luke Tripp, is African American and in taking his name I inherit for my children the name of the slave-owners of his genealogical history.  Luke has been the most influential person in the latter part of my life with his clarity of reasoning and critical thinking.  He has opened up intriguing vistas of thought about the history of America that is usually hidden from the view of most people in our society.

What are some of your current involvements in the community?

I am presently an adjunct lecturer at St. Cloud State University, teaching introductory classes in Asian American studies.  I share with students my rich experiences from travelling extensively in Southeast Asia and analyzing concepts from an anti-racism lens.  This semester our class is planning to showcase what they have learnt as an event for Asian American Pacific islander Heritage month in May.  This will be held at St. Cloud State University and will be open to both the campus and wider community.  The event will be both academic, as befitting a college environment, and creative with spoken word and story-telling.   This is service-learning at its best.

I am also very active in the St. Cloud chapter of NAPAWF (National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum) and firmly believe in its mission of building a movement to advance social justice and human rights for API women and girls.  Our work on teen leadership development was recognized by the Minnesota Women’s Consortium as their organization of the year, 2013.  The Council has always been a strong supporter of our NAPAWF chapter and I hope this relationship will deepen even further.

NAPAWF’s mission is to build a movement to advance social justice and human rights for API women and girls.

What do you hope to accomplish on CAPM’s board?

As part of the Council of Asian Pacific Minnesotans I identify as Hapa American.  It is important to me that the issues of the Council are Pan-Asian, inclusive of all the ethnic groups that make up Asian America, and also include the increasing number of mixed race Asian Americans.  It is also crucial that we collaborate with the other Councils of Color in the state of Minnesota and become a strong advocate for all our communities who have experienced historical disparities at many different levels.


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Posted by on April 12, 2013 in Uncategorized


“Making Health Equity a Reality”

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Posted by on April 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

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